The Quds Force of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps set up a new cyber unit for Hezbollah. The new cyber unit will deal with attacks and collection of intelligence in cyberspace, and will operate under the counterespionage wing of Hezbollah that is under the command of Hassan Nasrallah's son.
Hezbollah operatives and members of the Iranian Quds Force will serve in the cyber unit, whose main objectives will be countering espionage and subversive activity against Hezbollah and Iran.
The cyber unit will mainly collect information on Lebanese citizens using capabilities to attack cellular telephones, intercept Wi-Fi signals, collect information from social networks and databases, penetrate networks of Lebanese government agencies, and more.
The missions of the unit are expected to also include cyberattacks and collection of information on gas and oil companies, banks, newspapers and media companies in Gulf countries including the United Arab Emirates.
Since the assassination of Qassem Soleimani by U.S, forces in Iraq at the end of 2019, Iran started to intensify its development of additional intelligence capabilities (including forecasts based on civilian satellites) and wide-ranging cyberattack capabilities in an attempt to gain early warning of U.S. and Israeli operations against Iranian individuals and infrastructures in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and in Iran itself.
Iran also cooperates on these matters with Russia and China. On March 28, China and Iran signed a strategic agreement for joint development of cyberattack and cyber defense capabilities for the two countries.
In the framework of the new agreement and previous agreements, China is building for Iran capabilities to collect intelligence, eavesdrop, hack telephones, and additional cyberattack capabilities. China will help Iran use the capabilities in Iranian territory and will even receive information collected using them.
Iran will use these capabilities not only against its regular targets, namely Israel and the US, but also to thwart espionage and special operations in its territory. This need has especially increased following the assassination of the head of the Iranian nuclear program, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, in a heroic attack that was carried out on the outskirts of Tehran, and attributed to Israel.